Loyalist Feud

31 July - 2 September 2000


Due to the seriousness of the ongoing intra-loyalist feud the PFC felt it necessary to document feud related incidents in a similar way to the documentation of sectarian attacks. We do not intend this to be an ongoing published feature, although such incidents will continue to be documented in our archive. The decision to produce this list was taken in light of the potential for intra-loyalist violence to be redirected towards sectarian violence, (ie at Catholics) as has happened on similar occasions in the past.

Loyalist Feud

31 July Ė 2 Sept 2000

31 July An arson attack on a Protestant house in Derryís loyalist Tullyally estate was the work of Loyalist paramilitaries seeking to assert control over the estate, according to the DUPís Willie Hay. (IN)

11-12 August, Friday-Saturday A 28-year-old woman was left in intensive care after she was attacked -by a mob at a bonfire in the loyalist Lincoln Courts area of Derry. (IN/DJ)

18 August, Friday Security sources expressed concern in the Irish News of impending violence by loyalists on nationalists and within loyalism in the run up to a UFF linked Ďfestivalí in the Shankill Road on 19 August. The UVF and UFF were reported to be vying for gable ends and wall space for murals. (IN)

19 August, Saturday Representatives of nationalists living close to the Shankill area expressed concern at the convergence of thousands of LVF and UFF supporters in the area for the planned Ďfestivalí. Both groups have recently vowed to kill Catholics. Sinn Fťinís Tom Hartley called for the organisers, including UDP chairman John White and UDP deputy Lord Mayor of Belfast Frank McCoubrey, to ensure that the event passed off peacefully. John White dismissed the fears saying that the festival was to celebrate a recent clean-up of the area and to make a call for the regeneration of the Shankill. (IN/ DJ/ STr)

Loyalist leader Johnny Adair led a group of loyalists carrying UFF and UDA flags to mural unveilings. Some were masked and in paramilitary garb. The parade began with a rally addressed by UDP representatives John White and Frank McCoubrey, Deputy Lord Mayor of Belfast. The platform was bedecked with posters which read: "The Ulster conflict is about nationality. IRISH OUT!" After the speeches several UDA men and one woman wearing balaclavas and battle dress appeared on stage and fired off several long bursts from automatic weapons. The UDP representatives and the crowd cheered. (IN/STr/BBC)

At three p.m., as the parade went past ĎThe Rexí, a bar said to be frequented by UVF supporters, customers came out and became embroiled in a fracas with LVF supporters from Portadown. In response, the Adair UDA/UFF contingent later fired into the bar. Three people were admitted to the Royal Victoria Hospital with injuries. The UDA later returned to the bar, fired shots at it again and petrol bombed it. Afterwards, at an open-air rave-disco, Johnny Adair read out the names of alleged UVF families from the Shankill. He also announced that the Shankill would be a "UFF state by Christmas". Later Gusty Spence, former leader of the UVF, was intimidated out of his pensionerís bungalow. (IN/STr/BBC)

20 August, Sunday Some thirty families accused of having UVF leanings were reported to have left the lower Shankill after UDA/UFF intimidation. (IN/BBC)

21 August, Monday At 12:30pm Jackie Coulter, a UDA commander and close associate of Johnny Adair, and UVF man and former PUP talks delegate Bobby Mahood were both shot by a lone UVF gunman as they sat in Coulterís Jeep on the Crumlin Road. Coulter died instantly, Mahood died later in hospital from his injuries. Mahoodís murder is said to have been a mistake. His brother had survived an attempt on his life by a UVF gunman on the Crumlin Road on 24 July this year. The UVF also fired shots into the offices of the UDP, the political wing of the UDA/UFF. In response the UDA/UFF fired shots into the offices of the PUP, the political wing of the UVF. (IN/BBC)

Armed UDA men were later seen roaming the Shankill area. The offices of the PUP were set on fire, along with a house and a car in the area, and a taxi depot was attacked. RUC officers fired shots during the disturbances. Later two men were arrested and guns were seized.

By nightfall British soldiers had been deployed on the Shankill. The UDA fired shots at the house next door to PUP representative Billy Hutchinsonís. It is believed the shots were intended for Hutchinsonís home. (IN)

22 August, Tuesday Johnny Adair had his early release licence suspended by Peter Mandelson, British Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, and was arrested and flown to Maghaberry prison. "I think youíve saved my life" he is alleged to have told arresting officers. That night 21-year-old Sam Rocket, an alleged UVF member, was shot dead by the UDA in front of his girlfriend and baby daughter. (IN/STr/ST)

The UDA fired a number of shots into the Lincoln Courts home of a PUP supporter in Derry. It is understood the UDA have a hard core of 60 members in the City while the UVF have only around 10. Shots were also fired into the homes of a number of other PUP supporters in counties Antrim and Derry. (IN/DJ)

The PUP spokesman Billy Hutchinson said that more killings were likely before there was mediation between the two groups. (IN)

23 August, Wednesday The Chairman of the PUPís Ballymena branch, William McCaughey, accused the UDA/UFF of setting fire to his double glazing business premises in Ahoghill, Co Antrim. McCaughey, an ex-member of the RUCís Special Patrol Group (SPG) served 16 years for the sectarian murder of Catholic chemist William Strathearn and for the kidnap of Catholic priest Father Hugh Murphy. A former bodyguard to Ulster Unionist Minister John Taylor, McCaughey is alleged by former SPG colleague John Weir to have committed a number of other sectarian murders. More recently he was a member of the DUP and a prominent figure in the notorious sectarian picket of the Catholic Church in Harryville. (IN/BBC/PFC archive)

24 August, Thursday Feud victim Sam Rocketís brother Arthur was arrested by the RUC and charged with possession of a revolver and ammunition. (IN/BBC)

There was outrage after the Apprentice Boys of Derry mounted a guard of honour for Bobby Mahoodís coffin. Mahood was shot by the UVF at the same time as they shot UDA leader Jackie Coulter. The Apprentice Boysí Governor Alisdair Simpson was part of the Boysí contingent at the funeral. The coffin was followed by an informal UFF contingent. The UVF stayed away. (IN/STr)

25 August, Friday A thousand-strong funeral cortege for Jackie Coulter was led by his young grandsons, who carried UDA and UFF wreaths. The majority of the cortege was made up of young men in UFF uniform: black tie, white shirt and black combat trousers. Many of them had shaved heads and wore sunglasses. (IN/STr)

26 August, Saturday Over a thousand mourners followed the coffin of UDA/UFF victim Sam Rocket as it made its way around the streets in the Shankill. The cortege was lead by a lone piper. Arthur Rocket, given compassionate leave to attend the funeral, was handcuffed and escorted by RUC officers. The media were advised to stay away for their own safety and the funeral went off peacefully.

Four men were arrested in connection with his murder.

Security presence in the area was high as the UDPís John White denied rumours that a truce was in the offing. Mr White criticised Peter Mandelson for sending Adair back to jail. (IN/BBC)

28 August, Monday Feud victim Samuel Rocketís home in Oldpark was destroyed in an arson attack.

In Coleraine 11-year-old Charlene Daly was shot in the back and seriously wounded when the UVF sprayed her home in Jefferson Park on the Ballysally estate with machine gun fire.

The four arrested in connection with Samuel Rocketís murder were released without charge.

The UDPís John White denied reports that a 72 hour cease-fire had been negotiated.

Protestant Church leaders and Shankill community workers called on the rival paramilitaries to find a peaceful solution to their differences, citing the trauma caused to the community at large, and the younger generation in particular. (IN/BBC/NBelfN)

29 August, Tuesday There were more than 30 attacks on houses by rival UVF and UDA gangs in Carrickfergus and Greenisland, both in Co Antrim. The PUP accused the UDP of starting the tit-for-tat spate of attacks by attacking the home of one of their own supporters.

British Soldiers were deployed in the Ballysally housing estate in Coleraine, Co.Derry, after the UVF shooting of 11-year-old Charlene Daly.

The PUP accused the UDA/UFF of having caused the feud by breaking an agreement not to allow an LVF presence at the rally on the Shankill on 19 August. (IN/BBC)

30 August, Wednesday British troops were deployed on the Streets of Carrickfergus as a result of the previous nightís violence. Mobile British army patrols have also been observed in loyalist areas of Derry.

The Northern Ireland Housing Executive revealed that more than 53 families had been forced from their homes in the Shankill in the previous two weeks.

The RUC released statistics relating to the loyalist feud since 16 August:

  • 18 people arrested in connection with terrorism;

  • 7 people arrested on public order offences;

  • 18 firearms and 700 rounds of ammunition seized;

  • 69 houses searched revealing the recovery of explosives and drugs valued at £52,000.

  • The DUP leader Ian Paisley hit out at feuding loyalists for "killing their own kith and kin". His party colleague and fellow Free Presbyterian clergyman William McCrea blamed pro-agreement Unionists for the feud. (IN/BBC)

    2 September The Orange Order presence at the UVF parade in memory of UVF man Brian Robinson sparked outrage among Nationalists. Robinson was killed by the British Army in 1989 as he was returning to the Shankill from shooting dead Catholic man Brian McKenna in Ardoyne. A spokesman for the Order in Belfast denied that the organisation had outlawed membership of paramilitary organisations, adding that he had "no particular problem" with the Orderís participation in the parade. This follows the outrage at the presence of Apprentice Boys Governor Alisdair Simpson at the funeral of loyalist Bobby Mahood on 24 August. (IN/BBC)

    PUP supporter Billy Mitchell, in an article in the North Belfast News, traced the feud back to splits, particularly in the mid-Ulster UVF (one faction of which became the LVF under the leadership of Billy Wright), which he said were widely known to have been engineered by anti-agreement Unionist politicians. Dismissing the casting of the feud as a turf war over drugs and prostitution, the PUP man said the feud was the result of concerted efforts to isolate, vilify and root out pro-agreement and progressive politics from within the Protestant community. He said that in the last two years six people associated with the PUP had been killed. ( www.irelandclick.com)

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